LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15: Actor Jack Nicholson makes a gesture towards the Boston Celtics bench in Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on June 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jack Nicholson
Playing witness to history will cost you about as much as a new car... a very nice new car.
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Online auction sites, which did not exist when the other two finals Game 7s were played in the Los Angeles area, have pushed ticket prices to previously unheard of amounts. Bidding on StubHub.com Thursday morning reached $81,083 for a courtside seat and $619 for a ticket in Staples Center's highest level.
It's a high price to pay, but consider what's on the line when LA takes on Boston in Game 7 -- the Los Angeles Lakers reputation.
"The whole season, you don't win a championship, it's a failure," Kobe Bryant said.
The first finals Game 7 in the Los Angeles area resulted in some bitter memories. A 108-106 loss to the Celtics May 5, 1969, at the Forum in Inglewood is best-remembered by Laker fans for coach Bill van Breda Kolff's refusal to put legendary center Wilt Chamberlain back in the game after suffering a knee injury in the fourth quarter and owner Jack Kent Cooke's decision to place balloons in the rafters in anticipation of a victory that never materialized.
The next Game 7 at the Forum resulted in a 108-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons on June 21, 1988 with James Worthy's 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists forever stamping him as "Big Game James."
The Lakers lost Game 7s to Boston in 1962, 1966, 1969 and 1984, losing the first three by a total of seven points.
The Lakers forced a seventh game with an 89-67 victory over the Celtics Tuesday night at Staples Center, tying the best-of-seven series at three games apiece.
This will be the 17th Game 7 in the NBA Finals, but just the second since 1995 and first since 2005. The home team has a 13-3 record in Finals Game 7s.
To Laker guard Derek Fisher, the keys to the game will be getting "loose balls, the rebounds that are kind of up for grabs... who's sprinting back harder in transition, stopping those easy fast break points" and "not giving up any layups."
Of note, the team with most rebounds has won every game of the series.
Boston starting center Kendrick Perkins will miss the game because of what he said were torn medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee sustained in Tuesday's game.
Rivers did not say who would start in place of Perkins, but it is likely to be Rasheed Wallace, a starter on the 2004 Detroit Pistons team that upset the Lakers in that year's finals.
A victory would give the Lakers their 16th championship, including five won when they were located in Minneapolis, one behind Boston's 17.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson confirmed Wednesday he will receive a bonus for the championship, but did not specify the amount. He said he would use the bonus "to fund some of the charities that I consider to be very necessary in my life."
"That's one of the things I made a promise to myself about," said Jackson, who has won a record 10 NBA championships as a coach, six with the Chicago Bulls and four with the Lakers.